04 Mar 2018
SHANE VAN GISBERGEN is now second only to teammate Jamie Whincup on the Adelaide 500 honour roll after once again dominating race weekend in the Supercars season opener.
By Matthew Agius
TRIPLE EIGHT is now one win shy of the all-time winning record at the Adelaide 500 after another day of dominance at the 20th edition of the event.
And it was Shane Van Gisbergen completing another perfect weekend after claiming the Sunday race after starting on pole position.
But unlike Saturday's race, Van Gisbergen needed a little luck to take the chequered flag.
His teammate Jamie Whincup had beaten him to turn 1 off the line, and dominated the race at the front for the majority of the day.
But disaster struck on lap 31, when the reigning champion's transmission failed while leading.
Ford fans rejoiced as the stricken No. 1 Commodore limped back to pitlane, particularly after their own hero Scott McLaughlin's Shell V-Power Falcon fell foul of a puncture just six laps before while tailing Whincup in second place.
It fell to the rest of the field to play the strategy game to capitalise on the frontrunners' misfortunes.
Van Gisbergen's pace was competitive, and he edged ahead of Mark Winterbottom and Garth Tander to lead the race in real terms on lap 42.
But when actual race leader David Reynolds pitted on lap 44, a swift pitstop from Erebus put the Penrite Commodore out directly in front of Van Gisbergen.
Reynolds fought manfully to retain first position on cold tyres, but was forced to surrender the lead at the Turn 9 hairpin.
He tailed Van Gisbergen to the finish, but ultimately the Kiwi was able to extend his team's decade-long dominance of the event.
The race notably featured no safety cars, with Whincup the only non-finisher for the first time in 136 races.
Triple Eight, under its various guises at both Holden and Ford, has now won six Adelaide 500s - one shy of Walkinshaw Andretti United's seven as the Holden Racing Team from 1999 to 2015.
Van Gisbergen's five race wins bring him level with Marcos Ambrose, and behind just Whincup (10 wins) and Craig Lowndes (six).
He leads the championship on a perfect 300 points ahead of Reynolds (258), James Courtney (240), Chaz Mostert (216) and McLaughlin (207).